Type 1 Diabetes doesn't mean you can't live life to the fullest. There are many famous and successful people, who strive for more despite their diagnosis.
Examples include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, British Prime Minister Theresa May and actress Halle Berry, who are all Type 1 Diabetics. Sonia Sotomayor was diagnosed 60 years ago when she was just 7 years old, when blood sugar management was not as easy as it is today. She never skipped any blood sugar checks or injections and even though she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she has been very healthy. People are impressed by her appearance at the party and in court as she is a Type 1 diabetic and injects insulin when needed. Sotomayor's diabetes management records, which were released during the supreme court's hearing was 'very healthy' even within the standards of the medical community.
Type 1 diabetes doesn't stop people from competing in international sports events either. There are many athletes with type 1 diabetes across all disciplines. From baseball, basketball and football, to climbing, cycling and motor racing, there are many successful diabetics competing at all levels.
Olympic gold medalist in swimming Gary Hall Jr. was told he would never swim again after his diagnosis. He did not let that deter him, he didn't want diabetes to be an excuse and went on to win at the Olympics. He found exercise to be one of the key aspects to good diabetes management.
Ice hockey player and research analyst Anissa Gamble was diagnosed at 8 years old. For Anissa, her love of hockey helped her with blood sugar management, as only with good levels was she able to train as hard as she wanted to. These days she is also working hard to spread awareness and acceptance of type 1 diabetes around the globe.
Kristina Tomić is a European champion and World Championship bronze medallist in Taekwondo, who continues to compete and succeed at international events, as she is not letting type 1 diabetes win against her.
Dessi Zaharieva is a Taekwondo and MMA fighter, diagnosed at 7 years old. She went on to become a bronze medallist at the World Championship in Taekwondo in 2013 and then expanded her skill set to include mixed martial arts. Dessi also works with organisations to raise awareness and support for type 1 diabetics.
In Korea, more and more people are sharing their life with type 1 diabetes and being open about their struggles and achievements. When Hong A was diagnosed, she fought hard to accept her diabetes, then found her love for fitness and exercise, before deciding to become a sports nutrition coach and to share her life as a diabetic openly on social media.
She supports and coaches many diabetics on managing their levels and answers questions for newly diagnosed people. After discussions with foreigners living in Korea, who were looking for the kind of diabetes groups and societies seen abroad, she decided to start a group dedicated to exercise and type 1 diabetes - The Whole People Team was formed. This is a team of type 1 diabetics interested in exercise at all levels, from beginner to professional, from weight lifting to running and Taekwondo, who share their training, nutrition and life with diabetes openly on instagram. They are also available to answer questions and inspire other people. They include weight lifters Jeong Juin and Shim Jubyeong, marathon runner Jeon Sangjin, bodybuilder Lee Jinseon and Taekwondo enthusiast Jennifer Lienig.
We therefore believe that Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that, if managed well, allows participation in any field of interest without complications. That's why it is important to create an environment where everyone can manage their blood sugar levels well and to create a social atmosphere where people with Type 1 Diabetes can freely talk about their condition. We will continue to work hard to improve diabetes awareness in Korea, so that Type 1 diabetics can open up about their life and to create a better environment and social acceptance.